My first eviction!!! Help ????

17 Replies

Hi all,

Would an experienced investor in Michigan be able to help me through the process of eviction? I read online the tenant is served a 30 day notice - what does that note include? Reason of the eviction and the date to be out by? When do I get the court involved?

Do I hand deliver the note? Tape it to the door ?

I'm trying to be positive about this whole situation and look at it as a learning opportunity! I've already adjusted my lease template due future tenants!!

Thanks to the BP community for your help.

Hey Drew- are you evicting because of non payment of rent? If so you need to mail the tenants a 7 day notice.

Check out this link. It explains the process really well. All you need to understand is page 13-19. In case they take down the link it's the landlord tenant guide on the website.

There are standard forms that you can use where you just fill in the blanks and then mail to the tenants. It's really pretty simple and straightforward.

Good luck!

Mike Dundon

@Michael Dundon k

Mike - she hasn't switched over the ultities in her name yet and she keeps blowing off my calls/texts - what options do I have ?

Is she current with her rent and otherwise taking care of the house?

You need a clause in your rental agreement such as this:

"UTILITIES.  Landlord requires supply and maintenance of the following utilities at the unit: electric, natural gas (if applicable), water/sewer, garbage/recycling.  Telecommunication services are optional.  Tenant agrees to pay for all services and utilities supplied to the premises during the term of tenancy, except _______________________________________ which will be furnished by Landlord.  If Tenant moves out before the end of the lease period, Tenant must still pay for utilities to the end of the lease period, just as rent must be paid to the end of the lease period.  Tenant agrees to notify utility companies of the exact date their tenancy begins and ends and agrees to pay all outstanding utility bills.  If Tenant causes any utility to be disconnected, Tenant agrees to pay for reconnecting the utility, plus damages caused thereby."

And this:

"PAYMENTS.  All payments made by Tenant to Landlord after the tenancy commences, no matter how designated by Tenant, will be applied as follows: first, to any outstanding amounts due for damages/repairs, utilities etc.; second, to any outstanding service charges and fees from prior months; third, to any rent outstanding from prior months; fourth, to any service charges or fees due in the current month; and lastly to the current month’s rent."

This works in our jurisdiction and may work in yours: Serve a notice to comply with the terms of the rental agreement. If she doesn't comply and you are incurring the cost of the utilities, then when she pays you money for rent it goes first to pay the utilities and the amount still due becomes unpaid rent.  It is usually easier to evict for unpaid rent.

We also charge a $20 posting fee when we need to serve legal notices for failure to pay rent or failure to comply with the terms of the rental unit. A few of those usually motivates the tenant to get on board and do the right thing. 

To avoid the problem of tenants not changing the utilities into their name, we call the utility companies at the time of move-in. We introduce ourselves to the utility company and then hand the phone to the tenant. If the tenant can't or won't change the utilities, they can't move-in!

You may be able to save this tenancy, using some of these ideas. Eviction is a miserable way to go, but in some cases is necessary. Good luck!

A Termination of Tenancy is a Legal Notice to not renew a tenants lease once it expires.  If you are on a month to month Lease Agreement, you must give the tenant a 30 day written notice and it must be sent enough days ahead of time to make the notice a full 30 day notice.  This means you cannot claim the day you mailed it as day one.  Then if you mail it you must allow two full days for mailing so you can't count day 2 or 3 in the 30 day notice.  So let's say this is December and you wanted your tenant out.  You would need to give the tenant a 30 day notice, and it must be sent  no later than December 28th in order to reach the tenant in time and still give him or her a full 30 day notice. So you wouldn't be able to get the tenant out until January 30th or 31 since January has 31 days. 

In Michigan we do not need a reason to terminate a tenant lease agreement because it is our choice to renew it or not.  A termination of Tenancy is not an eviction.  .

If the tenant is on an annual lease, you must wait until it is ready to expire and once again send them a written Notice of Termination of Tenancy (you can buy these forms online) and give the tenant a full 30 day notice prior to their termination of tenancy just like you did on a month to month.

EVICTION:  Is another story.

Non payment of rent.  Drugs - Health Hazard, are reasons for evictions, but not much else.

Everything depends upon your lease agreement, what is stated in it, how it is stated, and whether or not it is legal.

To begin the Eviction process in MIchigan for non payment of rent you must give them a 7 Day Notice to Quit.  (E.G. A Demand for Possession) Once again you don't count the dail you mailed it, or the two days for mailing, but on the 3rd day  you can start counting and after 7 full days of the notice, you can file a Summons and Complaint for non payment of rent in the court house.  Make sure you write the tenants name on the lease and the words ALL OCCUPANTS in order to evict everyone that is living in the rental unit.  By using the words ALL OCCUPANTS, you are eviction everyone in POSSESSION of the rental unit, including the dog! 

Usually the courts will schedule a 10 day period before you go to court.  So your tenant now has had 10 days free rent, plus the 7 days notice, and the 3 days of mailing.  Nice hey!  When you  go to court, the Judge will ask the tenant why they didnt' pay rent.  They may say you are a slumlord and didn't take care of repairs.  They may say, they paid you, but they will have to prove it.  Whatever reason, the courts will give them another 10 days.  You are now almost into month 2, another rental period, and still the tenant most likely has not moved.

If the tenant doesn't move you will have to  file a Writ of Restitution, in court, to have the tenant removed by a court appointed official.  You will have to pay the Officer, per room , to toss them out, and their belongings.  So you will need to have a dumpster ready.

All these legal forms you can purchase online. 

Don't be scared of what I've just said.  We all have had to go through it and we survived.  It's all apart of learning how it all works, and then we need to see how we can avoid it in the future.

Nancy Neville.

Retired Detroit Landlord 13 years-hubby 30 years.  40 rental units, from apartments to duplexes to single family homes.

If you have in your lease agreement that the tenant is to pay for utilities and they are not doing so, then that is reason for an eviction.

This is bad news for them to start off right off the bat.

Screening your tenants tells us a lot.  It will show landlord evictions, if they pay utilities, and any bad stuff against them, not to mention what bills they owe.

Nancy Neville

@Nancy Neville

Thx Nancy!!

What should I put for what's owed for rent? She is paid up to February 1st but she still owes me 460 in the remained of a security deposit. I put zero.

Also - she has someone else living there (violation of lease), smoking in the house - which I've asked not to, and I've had one complaint of pot - violation to the lease.

I assume she is on a month to month?  

Now you know to never accept a partial payment for a Security Deposit.  If they can't pay everything in full up front, then too bad so sad, move on!

If you want her out, it would be quicker to do a 30 day notice, (Termination of Tenancy)

You can't evict her on non payment of rent, because she is paid up to February 1st.

You allowed her to make a partial payment on her Security Deposit.  Was there a specified date for her to pay?  Was it in writing?  If so you can evict on non payment of that agreement.

Pot Violation, is hereasay.  Have the people reporting this to you, put it in writing and you have a cause of eviction.  But most people won't commit themselves to putting it in writing. 

So...what do you want to ?  Keep her?...then you will have to wait and see what happens.  Want her out.  (She's already on a bad footing with you.  I'd get rid of her. Holidays are over), so I'd do a 30 day if she is on a month to month.

Normally I'm for trying to keep tenants and training them.  But you've already set the rules of how she views you.  A greenhorn, and I'm not trying to be mean.  Tenants will test you. That's why landlords need to "study up" on being a landlord before jumping into the pot.

But we all have done it.  Should of, could of, would of.  Right?

When you get her out, take note of what you did wrong, and try again.  This time you will know to do a credit check, collect all money up front, and make sure the applicant is COLLECTIBLE!!!   ALWAYS!!!


Originally posted by @Drew Denham :

Also - she has someone else living there (violation of lease), smoking in the house - which I've asked not to, and I've had one complaint of pot - violation to the lease.

Oy vey! This is sounding worse. Do an inspection of the premises, with proper notice of course, and keep an eye out for other lease violations. This is a situation where I would say, "This isn't working. Let's talk about a move-out plan." If she's uncooperative, move forward with legal notices for each lease violation and keep an eye on the property. Find out the full names of all other occupants and try to look up information about their background, as you need to know who you are dealing with.

@Nancy Neville

Nancy - this is my second rental and my first has gone perfect. I've done everything the same other than accept a partial security deposit. I had good faith the tenant would transfer the utilities in a timely fashion but I had to learn this the hard way. My lease will be updated in the future. I'm ready and able to handle whatever I need to do. I made some mistakes on this one.

I want her out - she signed a 1 year lease - owes me 460 security deposit on February 1st.

What can I do ?

In NJ and FL where we have rentals, we contact the utility company a week or so in advance of the tenant moving in (assuming they have signed the lease and paid the full security deposit), and tell them to close the account out of our name. We are not permitted to give the tenant's name, but the tenant knows that of a certain date, if they don't open their own account, there will be no power at the property. Without power, they're not getting the keys. 

Water/sewer for our SFRs are handled slightly differently, as it's billed quarterly and takes some time to schedule a shut off. But we call them anyway to have the account taken out of our name before the tenant moves in. 

All good advice from those who posted. I never let a tenant move in without paying the full security deposit and rent due by money order. Never. I've made other mistakes, but not that one. If your lease states that the security deposit "or any other money owed to the landlord" is considered additional rent, than by not paying, it's the same as not paying rent. That's the short version of what @Marcia Maynard posted :) And she's correct about that being the easiest of evictions.

Your lease and state law will determine what happens next. If you do use an attorney, make sure you choose one that specializes in landlord/tenant law. I've said this before, but have friends and colleagues make the mistake of hiring a family member who is a divorce lawyer, or they know someone who does personal injury, owes them a favor, etc. These types of lawyers might know even less than you do about your state landlord/tenant laws. 

Here's what you do with the utilities. Have the utilities shut off. If they're on your name, you have that right. The tenant can't complain about you shutting off the utilities since she is the one that is supposed to be taking them over from the start of the lease. It was her responsibility to get them in her name.

I would definitely do it with the electric. Thats the easiest one.

The other thing I might try is to tell the tenant that you've instructed all the utilities to turn off the service at the house. So if they don't get them put in their name, they won't have any utilities at all.

Thats the easiest way to get a tenant to put them in their name.

Its a sign they're going to be a problem though.........

I'd recommend an eviction if you can do it. Will save you a lot of time and headache
on this one.  

In Michigan you cannot turn off the Utilities in the Winter if a Tenant occupies the dwelling.

Yikes on a years lease.  You can try to evict her on violation of the lease agreement by doing a Termination of Tenancy issuing all the violations, going to court, and letting the court decide. 

But you must have evidence, proof of the violations.


Maybe I missed it but can you clarify what the lease says about the utilities?  

it says she pays but does not clarify if they must be in her name then send her a bill as soon as you get an invoice.  If she doesn't pay file for eviction based on non payment.

If the lease says she must put them in her name then she is in violation and you can move to evict.

If the boyfriend is not on the lease then see what your lease says about people staying in the unit that are not on the lease, another violation.  

Smoking, what doe the else say?  Another violation?

Bob E. @Nancy Neville

Update: she transferred the utilities today.

What are you thoughts on asking for the security deposit now? What if I cut 50 off her February rent if she paid me the remainder this week?

Also, the utility company would not back date so it's appropriate to have her pay the bill correct?

Learning more and more everyday ... Thx for your help

The utility company said I was acting crazy because I was callings everyday to see if she transferred... Did I over react?

Great, that's a start.  Never make deals with a tenant.  You could write a Promissory Note and have it state she needs to pay you the balance of ..... by.......or you will have to start the eviction process.   Have her sign it, plus add the money she owes on the back utility bill to the money she owes as well on the Promissory Note. 

If she refuses to sign the Promissory Note then begin the eviction process.  

At least your are working with her to an extent, not making a deal like forgiving her debt, just meeting her half way since she did put the utilities in her name, but YOU need to set her straight right now, if she wants to continue living there.  There has to be a meeting of the mind, yet you want to convey to her too, that it is important to have a good landlord/tenant relationship, and in order to do this, she needs to adhere to the Contract she signed and pay that promissory note.  


I would not offer a $50 discount or they are going to think you are a bank and look for discount every time they have a shortfall.

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